JAMMU Normal life was hit in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday due to the state-wide strike by transporters to protest against the administration’s decision on the installation of location-tracking devices in vehicles as a security measure in the state.
No commercial vehicle like private buses, mini-buses, trucks, taxis and auto-rickshaws plied on roads from Lakhanpur to Kashmir to Ladakh as all transport associations in the state joined the protest.
Commuters, especially the Vaishno Devi pilgrims, faced a tough time due to non-plying of commercial vehicles. The government, however, had pressed state-owned SRTC buses into service to address the worries of commuters.
Officials said government employees were late for work due to the strike in many of the offices in Srinagar and elsewhere in the Kashmir valley.
More than hundred transporters took out protest marches in capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar to press the government to withdraw installation of GPRS on transport vehicles and issuance of fitness certificates to old vehicles, according to the All Transporters Welfare Association (ATWA).
Marching in the Jammu city, they also raised anti-government slogans.
“We are protesting against the government’s unjust decision to install GPRS on vehicles, charge hefty fees in various local bus terminals, fees to install high security number plates. Our issues should be addressed,” ATWA Chairman T S Wazir told reporters here.
Firstly, the government should setup control and monitoring and then install GPRS on vehicles, Wazir said.
The Transport Department few years back, forced transporters to install high security number plates and speed governor’s on the vehicles, he added.
“We followed the instructions and installed the same but despite that two trucks and three taxis went missing from Jammu some time back,” Wazir alleged and said that the authorities failed to trace the vehicles.
All Jammu and Kashmir Transporters Association said it protested against non-issuance of fitness certificates to commercial vehicles by the state transport department.
Officials said that the action of transporters was unjustified as thousands of commuters suffered in the state due to the strike. They charged that transporters do not want to install GPRS and high security number plates.
These are security related issues which will also address the problems of traffic jams in city roads and highways, they said.
“It is purely a blackmail by transporters. High security number plates, installation of GPRS is a security measure in this militancy infested state. Everybody pays adda (bus-terminal) fee. Their demands are unjustified,” a commuter Avtar Singh said.